Impact of social connections on risk of heart disease, cancer, and all-cause mortality among elderly Americans: Findings from the Second Longitudinal Study of Aging (LSOA II)

Longjian Liu, Craig Newschaffer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study examined the associations between social connections and risk of mortality among older adults aged ≥70 using data (n= 9246) from the United States LSOA II. Social connections were measured at baseline (1994-96), and survival status and cause of mortality were identified in December 2002. A weighted sum score of lack of social connections (LSC) was estimated. Associations between LSC score by quartiles and risk of mortality were examined prospectively using Cox's proportional hazard regression models. The results show that within an eight-year follow-up, African Americans (AA) had the highest age-adjusted all-cause mortality (48.7%), followed by white Americans (WA) (44.7%), and Asian Americans (ASA) (38.4%). Participants within the highest quartile of LSC score had 2 times higher risk of death from heart disease, cancer, and all-causes among AA, and 1.40-1.80 times higher among WA than those within the lowest quartile (p< 0.01). No significant association was observed among ASA, which was likely due to the small sample size of the ASA participants. In conclusion, the association between lack of social connections and risk of mortality in older adults raises important clinical and public health concerns, and calls for a reframing of health problems to include social connections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)168-173
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Gerontology and Geriatrics
Volume53
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2011

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Heart Neoplasms
heart disease
Longitudinal Studies
Heart Diseases
longitudinal study
cancer
mortality
Asian Americans
cause
Mortality
lack
African Americans
social association
Proportional Hazards Models
Sample Size
Public Health
public health
death
regression
Health

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Aging
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

Cite this

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title = "Impact of social connections on risk of heart disease, cancer, and all-cause mortality among elderly Americans: Findings from the Second Longitudinal Study of Aging (LSOA II)",
abstract = "This study examined the associations between social connections and risk of mortality among older adults aged ≥70 using data (n= 9246) from the United States LSOA II. Social connections were measured at baseline (1994-96), and survival status and cause of mortality were identified in December 2002. A weighted sum score of lack of social connections (LSC) was estimated. Associations between LSC score by quartiles and risk of mortality were examined prospectively using Cox's proportional hazard regression models. The results show that within an eight-year follow-up, African Americans (AA) had the highest age-adjusted all-cause mortality (48.7{\%}), followed by white Americans (WA) (44.7{\%}), and Asian Americans (ASA) (38.4{\%}). Participants within the highest quartile of LSC score had 2 times higher risk of death from heart disease, cancer, and all-causes among AA, and 1.40-1.80 times higher among WA than those within the lowest quartile (p< 0.01). No significant association was observed among ASA, which was likely due to the small sample size of the ASA participants. In conclusion, the association between lack of social connections and risk of mortality in older adults raises important clinical and public health concerns, and calls for a reframing of health problems to include social connections.",
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